Sir Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, has announced that he will stand down and become a peer.
After seven years in the role, he will leave his role at the end of July after having overseen the COVID-19 vaccination rollout to all adults. He had intended to leave sooner but agreed to stay on through last winter.
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‘Joining the health service in my early twenties was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, followed three decades later by the privilege of leading the NHS through some of the toughest challenges in its history,’ said Sir Simon.
‘The people of this country have rightly recognised the extraordinary service of NHS staff during this terrible pandemic, as well as the success of our covid vaccination deployment. As the pandemic recedes in this country, the NHS’s track record in advancing medical progress in a way that works for everyone rightly continues to inspire young people to join one of the greatest causes – health and high quality care for all, now and for future generations.’
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Sir Simon began his career in the NHS graduate scheme, and has worked as a hospital general manager, and ran community mental health services in the North East of England. From 2001 to 2004 he was the Government's health policy adviser to then prime minister Tony Blair.
‘Sir Simon Stevens has led the NHS though enormous changes and challenges, and has worked relentlessly to transform the service for the benefit of both staff and patients. He led on the creation of the Long Term plan for the NHS, setting a bold policy direction, strong framework and foundation for building safe staffing into the future,’ said RCN President, Professor Dame Anne Marie Rafferty.
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‘He always spoke about nurses and doctors, in that order, and I would like to thank him for the incredible support he has given us as a community and profession throughout the pandemic. On behalf of all the members of the Royal College of Nursing I’d like to wish Sir Simon all the very best for the future.’
‘Sir Simon has led the NHS with great distinction for the past seven years. I want to thank him for his dedicated service throughout – but especially when facing the extraordinary pressures of the past year, and for his huge contribution to our vaccine rollout,’ said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
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